Strengthening Ethical Awareness: IMA [R] Has Always Believed That Accountants and Financial Professionals Should Adhere to the Highest Standards of Ethical Conduct, Particularly as They Are the Guardians of an Organization's Finances and Should Be Role Models for Honesty

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Management accountants handle some of an organization's most sensitive information in their daily work. The misuse, misappropriation, or dissemination of that information can sometimes cripple an enterprise, as several recent insider trading cases glaringly illustrate. Although it's unlikely that a single dictum or set of principles can sway the actions of an individual intent on doing the wrong thing, there are ways to keep an awareness of the need for ethical behavior top of mind. IMA has been doing just that for accountants and financial professionals for a long time now.

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IMA's emphasis on ethics dates from the organization's founding in the early 20th Century when we created a Committee on Ethics as one of our initial standing committees. Mid-century, IMA took an even bolder leadership role in the ethics area by developing the management accounting profession's first written code of Ethics--the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Management Accountants. This code of ethics was revised in 2005 to better reflect the changing ethical climate. The new code, now called the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice, binds each IMA member to a commitment to the highest ethical behavior.

IMA provides a variety of resources to support our members' commitment to these principles. Perhaps the most useful resource during a crisis situation is the IMA Ethics Helpline, which offers free, confidential guidance on a variety of ethics issues. Simply by calling (800) 245-1383 (it's toll free in the U.S., but additional steps are required for international callers), accounting professionals can discuss their specific ethical concerns with a qualified counselor. Although the counselor won't provide explicit guidance, he or she will explain how the dilemma relates to the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice. For additional information related to this resource, visit the Ethics Center & Helpline on the IMA website: www.imanet.org/resources_and_publications/ethics_center_helpline.aspx.

The Center also contains other useful links to guidance on ethics matters. For example, members can gain easy access to publications and resources from organizations such as the Ethics Resource Center, which is devoted to independent research and the advancement of high ethical standards and practices in public and private institutions. …